By Lyonel Doherty
Is our prime minister a racist?
Colouring your face and dressing up as Aladdin for a party 20 years ago doesn’t make you a racist. Far from it. And much of last week’s feedback on the Chronicle’s Facebook page tends to support this belief.
“Totally blown out of proportion . . . he is not racist and everyone knows it; makes me sick listening to the other candidates . . . ‘hurt Canadians deeply.’ Didn’t hurt me a bit.”
Another commented: “My red-head daughter dressing up as Moana is not racism. Politically timed election scandals like this are disgusting and only create more division between us all.”
Someone else said: “I always wanted to have black afro hair, and now, if I wore that today, I would be considered a racist.”
Another reader commented: “If you want to bash people for stupid things, look in your closet first and tell yourself to grow up.”
One local resident said: “People need to be less sensitive. Half the reason racism won’t die is because of crap like this.”
On the other side of the coin, some people were very upset with Trudeau for putting brown makeup on his face to complement his costume.
“He is a hypocrite is what he is. If this was someone running for the Liberal Party other than himself, he would have removed them.”
Another reader said: “I believe he would ‘out’ another candidate for the same thing if it wasn’t himself in the spotlight.”
Another called for his resignation, saying Trudeau never fails to dishonour Canada.
And still another: “He should be treated like everyone else who does such terrible things. No excuses.”
Trudeau stopped campaigning for a day and profusely apologized for his actions, going as far as sitting down with his children to talk about the matter and its impact.
It sounded like he had committed a grievous crime. And of course, the opposition leaders went in for the kill, saying how the prime minister hurt and offended Canadians.
There was no malicious intent by Trudeau to marginalize anyone. Relax. It was a party and he wanted to dress up.
You could argue he was foolish and insensitive and leave it at that. But the race card had to be played by someone.
The fact that people, 18 years later, chose to make it a racial issue is part of the real problem.
Racism is wrong on all levels and discrimination cannot be tolerated in our beautiful, multicultural society. But crying wolf divides humanity even more.
No doubt the release of the “brownface” photo was perfectly orchestrated to sabotage Trudeau’s re-election campaign. What despicable politics.
But more disturbing is the fact you can’t do or say anything today that might remotely be construed as marginalizing someone. You can’t even express a concern about the immigration system without being labeled prejudiced or an evil bigot.
Our freedom of expression is not so free anymore.